Beijing: Woodshed Beatings.


My ears are still ringing. What the hell just happened?

 

I’ll tell you what: Marin Cilic just put on the lights-out performance of the year to defeat Rafael Nadal in two sets 6-1 6-3.  

And the craziest thing is – the scoreline is actually a lot closer than the match. At 5-0 in the first set, Rafa had won a total of 2 points. The set was over before you could say Bob’s your uncle.

With the second set underway, Marin showed no sign of a letdown, breaking Rafa in the first game. The set could’ve been over quicker, when at 2-0 in the second set, Rafa faced off 3 breakpoints to hold from a 0-40 deficit, with the help of a few shanks from Marin.

When serving for the match at 5-2, Marin tightened up once again and lost 2 opportunities to close it out on serve.

So nervous was he that when he did take the match with a forehand winner in the very next game, the look on Cilic’s face was nothing other than sheer relief at having avoided the burden of serving it out

 

 

Even so, it was just an impeccable performance from the Croat. As the Chinese commentators on CCTV 5 put it, “woah!”

When someone with as aggressive and risky a game as Marin goes on a roll, there’s nothing you can do but to hang in there and wait for him to start missing, which unfortunately for Nadal, Cilic simply didn’t. 

Mentioning Mr Checkeredpants, Rafa has the tendency to go out in flames when he loses on a hard court.

Every now and then, a player would come along and put on a performance that completely obliterates Rafa’s court presence. Tsonga at the Australian Open 2008 was an example, Djokovic at Cincinnati this year was another. Essentially that’s what Cilic did to him today – a complete imposition of his game style over Rafa’s. And sometimes you just have no answers.

Of course, all this was made harder for Nadal because of his serve. I understand that he might be playing it a little safe at this time of the year, especially right after his injuries. But if Rafa’s still hasn’t beefed it up at the Masters Cup, I’d be worried.

 

REUTERS/Alfred Cheng Jin

 

It seems that the China Open is a place for woodshed beatings, with Sexlana Kuznetsova and Novak Djokovic both prevailing comfortably over their opponents.

Yes. Sveta’s winning back-to-back matches again. NOBODY LOOK.

Doh. You looked didn’t you. 

 

😦

Oh Robin, just when you had me on the bandwagon, why?! 

After much anticipation, the Sod’s disappointing performance in his semifinal against Djokovic reeked of unforced errors and poor serving.

Not to take anything away from the Djoker, who was solid on serve and defended tremendously along the baseline – a more prominent characteristic of his game this year. 

So it’s back to No 3 for Nole who fist-pumped his way to the exit in celebration.

 

 

Nole is in his 8th final this year, winning only 2 out of the first 7. Can he tidy up his finals record for the year? Much will depend on whether Marin will experience a huge letdown after playing probably the finest match of his career. 

 

There was a similar carnage over in Tokyo, as Tsonga took out Gael Monfils 63 63 in just 56 minutes. In an impressive serve clinic, Zonger lost just one point on his first serve throughout the match, as he s&v-ed his way through both sets, giving la Monf little rhythm and no break points. 

And when Jo’s winning over 70% of points on serve and clocking that forehand like he was made in Switzerland, he’s just too hard to beat. 

And: I will never get sick of his victory jump.

 

AP Photo/Junji Kurokawa

 

Jo-Wills is due to face MIKHAIL YOUZHNY for the title in Tokyo. That’s right, MIKHAIL. YOUZHNY. THE NUTTER.

Sorry for the caps lock, but it’s HARD TO CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT OKAY? 

There was a time when I used to love this psycho, and I’m glad he appears to have gotten back some brain cells since his self-mutilation stunt in Miami last year. After all, winning a third set battle against Hewitt, one of the best competitors on tour, is no small feat.

And: I’ve missed his lil’ retarded salute. 

 

TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images

 

Here’s a salute right back atcha!

xx doots

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29 responses to “Beijing: Woodshed Beatings.”

  1. TopSpin says :

    Curses and 10,000 dagger eyes to the UK broadcasting machine for missing out on what sounds like the finest 500 event this year.

    Not only was the turn out good, we’ve now had breakout performances and upsets to boot.

    A long winded way of saying I missed out on that action you describe.

    A question though: Djoko…”the finest match of his career”?

    That good?

    • dootsiez says :

      Hehehe not Djokovic, but Marin. I thought his performance against Nadal was even better than against Murray at the US Open.

  2. Blue says :

    Cilic beat Nadal?! What’s wrong with Nadal’s serve? I thought he was better now.

    Not so happy Nole took out Soderling, but Kudos on getting back to no.3.

    • dootsiez says :

      Rafa’s healthy, but his serve has gone back to 2006 – it’s functioning, but not much more than that. Marin got about 80% of them back in play with interest.

  3. Liz says :

    Did anyone else think, Simon Reed?

      • pban says :

        Read his newest offering in the eurosport column,apparently Reed with his great insight will give all of those who lack his vision(ie the rest of everybody) a list of the players with the best shots in history.He has started with the men’s serve. No prizes for guessing who doesn’t make the cut?

    • dootsiez says :

      *raises hand* I did.

      But granted, beating Rafa in Beijing at a 500 tournament is not the same as upsetting him in the fourth round of a slam.

      Rafa is no Murray after all.😛

  4. Paul says :

    You left out Del Potros near raping (yes, the next thing on the scale after what happened would have been nothing but rape) of Nadal in the US this year when you were talking about him sometimes getting blown off a hard court.

    I haven’t seen the Cilic match yet but of all his defeats that DelP one was his biggest thumping so far.

    • pban says :

      So was this, in fact the scoreline should have read 6-1,6-1.At least delpoop was sometimes struggling on his serve and rafa was definitely unfit,no such excuses today. Cilic just massacred him.

    • dootsiez says :

      I thought about putting del Potro in there too, Paul, but decided against it.

      Rafa’s 3 defeats against del Poop coincided with the onset and recovery of his physical problems, and his abdomen injury was clearly bothering him during that match. So I thought it was appropriate to cut him some slack. If del Poop is still beating him early next year, then I’m afraid Rafa may have found his kryptonite.

  5. pban says :

    Sorry all you rafa fans out here Isimply cannot sympathise with someone who is the source of so much heartache for Roger(and me).I know it’s not his fault that Roger lost Wimby 08 and self combusted in AO 09 but somehow my loyalties run too deep,maybe in a roger free universe( ***shudder***)who knows? Besides I want Roger as year end no.1 and 500 points is a lot since that fool has decided to disappear from the face of the tennis world for the next 3 weeks.

    • dootsiez says :

      Hmmm that’s unless Roger makes a *complete* mess of his last 3 tournaments, I’m not confident enough to say that he won’t, but here’s to hoping that 5 weeks of rest gets him back on track!

      • pban says :

        Ishare your confidence or the lack of it, with roger in the last 3 years and if the tourney is not a slam you never know which federer will turn up.

  6. DV says :

    Rafa now is a shadow of old Rafa, bu the question is can Marin take Novak?

    • dootsiez says :

      I think Marin can bother Djokovic, but at the same time, heavy flat hitters tend to come off looking extra impressive against Nadal just because of the contrast of styles. And I still have doubts over whether Marin can keep up his level of play against the top guys for 2 matches in a row. It’s still a learning experience for him.

  7. Julie says :

    Marin baby! Nerds are sexy AND awesome tennis players! I gotta say, all my faves after Roger are doing great lately. Ernest has won 2 matches in a row (it’s a BIG thing, trust me), Marin is on fire and Jo is looking more attractive than ever (both on and off court). Roger better come back soon or he’ll find imself replaced as the principal object of my affections

  8. Alex says :

    Rafa will rise again in Shanghai and London!

  9. Julie says :

    Oh are there new Federer jokes, Chuck Norris-style? Any links Doots?

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